The announcement of the low cost Asus MeMo tablet caused a wave of excitement when it was revealed during the Nvidia press conference at CES 2012, and for good reason.
Asus has done the impossible, packing in a quad-core Nvidia Tegra 3 processor into a 7-inch Android 4.0 tablet, and keeping the cost down to an astounding $249.
The star of this value tablet show is the Asus Memo 370T, which could be the best value entertainment tablet on the market. If there was a tablet to really take on the might of the Amazon Kindle Fire, the Asus Memo 370T has all the right qualities to be it.
Inside is an Nvidia Tegra 3 chip, a fantastic 8MP camera and Ice Cream Sandwich, combining to pack enough power and features to give any tablet a run for its money. The result is a device which feels responsive, slick and never succumbs to a second of lag.
The Memo 370T is a full multimedia tablet, and aimed at people who want to enjoy watching movies, and playing games on the move, but need a tablet that's small and light enough to fit in a bag. Full high-def 1080p and 3D graphics are more than catered for, and we were impressed by the bright, vibrant screen, which brought movies to life.
The Asus Memo 370T also has a smaller brother, the MeMo 171, which is much less powerful, and appears to be an attempt by Asus to deliver a tablet/smartphone hybrid.
The Memo 171 is 7 inches again, but instead of Tegra 3, features a Qualcomm 8260 dual-core 1.2GHz processor, with 16GB of built-in storage. The MeMo 171 is 3G as standard, and is designed to be used more like a phone, and thus comes with a built-in stainless steel stylus that can be used for navigating, as well as drawing and writing.
While the quad-core 370T feels smooth and responsoive, the same can't be said for the MeMo 171, which noticeably lags, especially when drawing with the pen. We much prefer the slicker Samsung Galaxy Note, which at 5 inches, feels much more like a hybrid device.
To boost the MeMo 171's phone credentials, Asus supplies a MeMIC Bluetooth handset for making calls while the tablet is stowed in your bag. It's a nice idea, but the handset is small, plasticky and resembles something you'd give a child to play with. We'd need more time to ascertain whether this is a good long term solution, but first impressions weren't great.
There are no plans yet for Asus to release either MeMo tablet in the UK, but will start shipping both tablets in the US later this year.